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Sunday 09th of January 2011
January 5, 2010    

John Lewis reports bumper Christmas sales

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by Kay Murchie
”John

The John Lewis Partnership, which is seen as a barometer of British retailing, said like-for-like sales were up 12.7% in the five weeks to 2 January 2010 compared with a year ago.

The figures will boost hopes that the economy is making a recovery as consumers begin to spend again.

Furthermore, the renowned employee-owned department store and owner of the Waitrose supermarket chain, said takings are 10.4% higher than in 2007 - prior to the credit crunch.

Meanwhile, sales at Waitrose sales rose 16.1% in the 13 weeks to 26 December 2009, or 9% on a like-for-like basis.

However, the group remains cautious and said it expects a “long, slow recovery” this year.

Commenting on today’s figures, Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said: “We have seen excellent sales during Christmas and clearance … the five-week period has seen a number of records broken. Sales surpassed the £100 million milestone on four separate weeks.”

“We beat our previous biggest ever week from 2007 in early December,” added Mr Street.

In related news, fashion retailer Next, today reported that like-for-like sales at Next Retail were up 3.2% in the 22 weeks to Christmas Eve.

Its mail order business, Next Directory, said sales increased by 6.8% compared with a year earlier.

Finally, Marks & Spencer is expected to report its first rise in underlying quarterly sales for more than two years tomorrow. The retailing giant has been losing customers to cheaper alternatives, such as Primark and Asda’s clothing brand, George.

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